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EU presses for cuts in public spending
LAST WEEK'S summit of European Union (EU) finance ministers gave the British government six months to come up with plans to cut public spending.
Meeting in Prague, the EU finance committee warned the UK to cut its budget deficit to the EU 'Stability and Growth Pact' limit of 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) within four years.
In a press statement issued by the No2EU-Yes to Democracy electoral alliance, Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist argued that, with a government deficit of £78 billion last year equivalent to 5.4% of GDP, meeting the EU target would mean cutting £35 billion of public spending in one year.
"Local authorities are already conducting a 'doomsday study' of the potential impact on local council budgets of up to 30% funding cuts and it paints an horrific picture for local services", he said. "Local councils would no longer be able to provide even the current standard of services, particularly in fields such as social care".
The No2EU-Yes to Democracy convener Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT transport workers' union, also condemned the EU decision. The EU's public spending criteria has enforced the privatisation of capital projects to keep them off the government's books, by means of private finance initiatives (PFI) and the disastrous PPP on London Underground, which increased the costs of public services and subsidised corporate profits.
"It is clear that EU leaders want ordinary working people to pay for the recession, by cutting essential public services, instead of the banks and finance companies that contributed so much to the economic crisis in the first place", he said.
"That's why a vote for No2EU-Yes to Democracy against the EU's privatisation agenda is so essential on 4 June".
In The Socialist 7 April 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news
Socialist Party workplace news